Friday, September 26, 2014

Brainstorming Weekend at Wampler Lake

It's a beautiful day in southern Michigan where I'm sitting in a screened-in porch with six other Toledo-area writers for our local group's annual Brainstorming Weekend. The lake shimmers in the sunlight in front of us. Bits of yellow and green peeking through the green leaves on the trees signal the end of summer and the onset of autumn and—horror of horrors—winter. For now, however, this is the perfect ambience for a group of romance writers gathering together for the purpose of renewing our spirits and our commitment to writing.


  • Kristina Knight, contemporary romance
  • Jenna Rutland, contemporary romance
  • Sloan Parker, male/male romantic suspense
  • Rue Allyn, historical and contemporary romance
  • Denise Frazier, young adult romance
  • Sophia Strathmore, historical romance
  • Susana Ellis, historical romance
  • Constance Phillips, contemporary and paranormal romance
  • Katelynn Phillips, contemporary romance
  • Jill Kemerer, inspirational romance
  • Shay Lacy, fantasy and erotic romance
  • Tanja Fazzari, contemporary romance
  • Faith McLaughlin, contemporary romance

    Rue Allyn and Jenna Rutland

    Sophia Strathmore

    Kristina Knight

    Denise Frazier

Group Agenda

Those of us who arrived on Thursday used the day to unpack our food and bedding, mingle a bit, scrounge for food, seek out a comfy spot for writing, unpack our laptops and research materials, and write. And eat some more. And do some more mingling. And eating. And a bit of drinking.

The same goes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, except with brainstorming added. That's where we discuss our story ideas in turn and get suggestions for everything from plot twists to characters. It doesn't seem to matter that we write in different sub-genres—the ideas generated from these sessions have proven invaluable to me. This is especially true when we've written ourselves into a corner and need fresh ideas for wriggling out of it.

My Personal Agenda

  • Finish my revision of the first chapter of A Home For Helena, the time travel romance I'm thinking of submitting to Harlequin's So You Think You Can Write contest. (That deadline is SOON).
  • Plot my story for the Waterloo-themed anthology project some of us are working on. That deadline is January 1, 2015—but it's for submission-ready stories.
  • Finish my Christmas novella to self-publish by November 1.
  • Of course, I'm also taking three online courses that I'm already behind on. April Kihlstrom's Book In a Week will help me plan my Waterloo story. The self-publishing course will be helpful in the very near future, with at least two of my three projects. The third course on Regency dress is a fun, research-oriented course instructed by Isobel Carr and sponsored by the Beau Monde.
But mostly I'm here to spend time with my writer friends, especially with my migration to Florida coming up in a few weeks. I do have friends in the Central Florida Romance Writers as well, but living in two places means missing out on half the year in both places, so my plan for the weekend includes a healthy dose of socializing along with the rest.

Hope you enjoy every minute of your own weekend. Are you watching Outlander? I'll miss this week's episode, but you have to know I'll be watching it on the DVR as soon as I get home on Sunday!

Don't you just adore Jamie in his wedding finery?

About Susana

A former teacher, Susana is finally living her dream of being a full-time writer. She loves all genres of romance, but historical—Regency in particular—is her favorite. There’s just something about dashing heroes and spunky heroines waltzing in ballrooms and driving through Hyde Park that appeals to her imagination.

In real life, Susana is a lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, although she has lived in Ecuador and studied in Spain, France and Mexico. More recently, she was able to travel around the UK and visit many of the places she’s read about for years, and it was awesome! She is a member of the Maumee Valley, Central Florida and Beau Monde chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Web site • Email • Facebook • Twitter • Linked In • Pinterest • Google+
Susana’s Parlour (Regency Blog) • Susana’s Morning Room (Romance Blog)

Susana's Releases

She's a country lady. He's a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

A wounded soldier and the girl next door find peace and love amidst a backdrop of rural Christmas traditions. 


Tina Donahue said...

Love the house - sounds like fun. :)

jean hart stewart said...

Used to live in northern Ohio and love your description of that area..Lots of luck on all your projects..Jean